P Is for Pterodactyl – The Worst Alphabet Book Ever By Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter




As someone who is particularly fond of the English language and all its crazy eccentricities, this book really appeals to me.


The bi-line on the front cover reads: ‘All the letters that misbehave and make words nearly impossible to pronounce’ and that about sums it up! Each page of this book looks at a different letter of the alphabet and the various ways in which that letter is used. For example, rather than ‘C is for cat’, here we have:

‘C is for Czar. Shhh! The fascinating czar is secretly part Czech.’

This is not your typical alphabet book and certainly not one you would use with pre-schoolers, but it’s a lot of fun for the older kids!


Why I love it:

I am always telling my students how clever they are to have mastered the English language – it’s not an easy one! I love that this book finds humour in some of our language’s craziest spelling patterns and phonemes. It would also be a terrific teaching tool for those same spelling patterns.

It’s a bit of fun, with a bit of learning thrown in – perfect for The Sunshine Collective!


Themes to discuss with your child:

  • English
  • Spelling
  • Rules and exceptions
  • Language conventions
  • Humour

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • How do you think you pronounce the name of this book?
  • What is strange about the pronunciation?
  • What kind of animal is a pterodactyl?
  • What does the sentence under the title, say?
  • Can you think of any other words that might be in this book?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this book? Why/why not?
  • What was your favourite page?
  • Did you learn any new words from reading this book? Which ones were new to you?
  • Can you remember how to spell any of the words from the book? Which ones?
  • Can you think of any other tricky English words that were not included?

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